Review | Gobliiiins 4
Format: PC | Genre: Adventure | Publisher: Snowberry | Developer: Societe Pollene | Out now: £19.99
By Gary Hartley
Gobliiiins 4 has more ‘i’s in its title than recommendable points in its game.
No favours are done for the fourth title in the series, as each and every aspect gets a “must try harder” red rubber stamp smacked down upon it and is sent to the back of the class to think about what it’s done. It’s cosmetically woeful, completely lacks the spirit and humour previous titles have point-blank depended upon and has a plot so inexpertly penned you might mistake it as the works of a prepubescent Eragon fanficer.
Gobliiiins 4 is a point and click adventure housed in a series of single rooms, back-dropped to average prerendered surroundings made to look like eye-raping rapture when compared to the hideously-captured 3D models the game foolishly supplies as sprites. These sprites, that communicate through unintelligible gibberish, would have been considered hideous back in the distant past when three-dimensional graphics were struggling to find the way into everyday gaming; in a 2009 release, they’re criminal.
//More complaining follows
I can complain that fiddling around with the resolutions to try and find a favourable way to stop your game looking like a surreal washed-out portrait of pure arse will more often that not crash you right back to desktop, as if punishing you. The saving options are another sore point, not giving you the option to save where you are, but instead auto-saving at checkpoints or offering a password system that can damn chunks of work into oblivion should you quit the game at the wrong time. To keep the tone negative, I could ignore the obvious advantages of housing entire bite-sized point-and-click chapters in a single ocation (such as how you never need to worry about missing that all important pixel prompt some seven locations ago) and instead assure you that getting stuck and knowing the answer is right there under your nose some can become very aggravating very quickly.
Gobliiins 4 has one shining light trying to cut through the murky darkness of awful game design; it throws puzzles at you that are both refreshing and challenging. To begin with, you only have control of Tchoup, who fulfils the role of all main adventure protagonists everywhere by possessing the ability to carry anything and everything, then use these seemingly useless items in an abstract manner to complete various puzzles. Things start to pick up pace when his two brothers are introduced, the magical Perluis and the brawny Stucco, who provide new angles and methods to beat the puzzles that bar the trio’s path. Reminiscent of Lost Vikings, you’re forced to think about how each character’s strengths can apply to your solution, having them work independently or as a unit to plod the game onwards.
Which leads to an odd problem solved only by attempting to play Gobliiins 4 in bubbles and quitting out when its host of flaws start to grate against our nerves. That is if you can get the game to run long enough without crashing. Or if you can find a safe step-off point where the dodgy save systems won’t relegate your efforts into nothingness. Sidestep this, and there’s a challenging little game hidden under the muck somewhere. It just takes a considerable amount of time and a notable bit of skill with a shovel to find it.